Rhetoric and Pedagogy: Its History, Philosophy, and Practice: Essays in Honor of James J. Murphy

By Winifred Bryan Horner; Michael Leff | Go to book overview

Chapter 12
An 18th-Century Greek
Triplex modus praedicandi Treatise

Thomas M. Conley University of Illinois

The manuscript entitled Skiagrafiai, found in Cod.Ath.1196 in the National Library in Athens, offers a fascinating glimpse into the cross-cultural activities of late 17th- and early 18th-century Greek intellectuals. Skiagrafiai, attributed by V. Bombou-Stamate and S. Harakas to Vikentios Damodos ( 1700-1752), contains a graded series of instructions and exemplars designed to provide Orthodox clergy with a systematic approach to sermon composition. There are in all, twelve "sermon sketches" (a fair rendering of the Greek title) provided, each on a different sermon theme, in which Damodos (if he was in fact the author--on this, more in due course) gives step-by-step directions on how to construct, compose, and deliver sermons of various types: "In order to begin, you must . . ."; "After you have given the first argument, make a transition as follows . . ."; "Turn now to the audience and say . . ."; "Now, to bring your sermon to a successful close. . . ." These represent very explicit prescriptions to the aspiring preacher.1

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1
This treatise was brought to my attention by Rev. Stanley S. Harakas, Archbishop Iakovos Professor of Orthodox Theology at Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology in Brookline, MA, in the fall of 1990. Harakas was at the time preparing a translation of the Skiagrafiai for publication. He first wrote of it in Proclaiming God's Word: Preaching Concerns in the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of North and South America ( Minneapolis: Light and Life Publishing Co., 1989) 55-70. In attributing this work to Damodos, Harakas follows Bombou-Stamate, "Ho Vikentios Damodos: Biografia-Ergografia, 1700-1752" diss., Athens, 1982, 209-212. I am grateful to Prof. Harakas for allowing me to examine this treatise and for his assistance in preparing this chapter.

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